Sunday, August 31, 2008


That's the final score for the season opener for Kentucky's two flagship schools. I'm a Big Blue Fan. For the second year in a row, we won. 27-2. It might be a long season for Coach Craigthorpe.

On, on, U of K, we are right for the fight today,
Hold that ball and hit that line;
Ev'ry Wildcat star will shine;
We'll fight, fight, fight, for the blue and white
As we roll to that goal, Varsity,
And we'll kick, pass and run, 'till the battle is won,
And we'll bring home the victory.

What a Convention! Pray for Louisiana.

Two verses from today's reading from Saint Paul's Letter to the Romans, Verses 12:12 and 12:13, standout as a postscript to last week's Democratic Convention and a plan for this week's possible hit on New Orleans by Hurricane Gustav.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

These are the by-words for the first week of September.

Rejoice in hope. There was much rejoicing, much hope, in the aftermath of the nomination of Barack Obama. Be patient in suffering. My first presidential election saw Ronald Reagan elected to the White House. Our country has been in the grips of a destructive force calling not just for less taxes, but the elimination of the government as we knew it. And they've almost succeeded. We've been patient; we've suffered. Persevere in prayer. Always asking why not rather than why; always knowing that the best days are ahead. And always willing to work, fight, and pray for the future.

Contribute to the needs of the saints. We all have saints in our lives, whether they be parents, siblings, children, or friends. The best thing we can do for them is support them if they are in need. Need isn't always financial - it may be volunteering at Little League or reading to a child. Extend hospitality to strangers. Should New Orleans be evacuated, there is a possibility that some of those folks will end up here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. This is an opportunity.

Happy Labor Day, tomorrow.

Today is the birthday of two interesting journalists. Nationally, Daniel Schorr is 92. Locally Cary Stemle is much, much younger. Happy Birthday to both.

Friday, August 29, 2008

379. Today - History

You come here expecting comments on Obama's speech or McCain's choice?

As I left the office at 5:00 pm, the temperature was 93 degrees and it was raining. Real live rain, the first rain in two weeks. That's today's historic role.

I'll offer more at another time on Obama's speech and McCain's choice.

A final thought: If the John Kerry who delivered a speech the night before last had been the same guy campaigning for president in 2004, we would not have made history this week in Denver with Barack Obama. Rather, we would have been renominating President Kerry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

378. Today - History

Last night, United States Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton gave an historic speech, an unqualified, unconditional, and incontrovertible endorsement of the man who defeated her for this year's Democratic nomination for president. It was a great speech. She left nothing out; she gave it her all. Everyone in the Democratic Party must be proud of her work, her campaign, her 18,000,000 votes, and her 1700 or so delegates. Historic. Pretty cool.

In just a few minutes more history will be made at the Democratic National Convention going on in Denver, Colorado, history that will put this date, August 27, 2008, in the history books. Very shortly from now, the Roll Call of States will begin the process of nominating the first non-white as the Democratic Party's candidate - my Democratic Party's candidate - for President of the United States. Senators, governors, members of the House, Party Chairs and others will make their way to a microphone, booming with pride and enthusiasm, and using a well-known formula our Party will nominate United Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. as our nominee.

Madam Secretary, it is a great honor for me, the [insert officeholder's title] of the Great [insert state, commonwealth, territory, or district] of [insert name of said state, commonwealth, territory, or district], home of [insert famous people, places, or things identifying said state, commonwealth, territory, or district], to proudly cast our [insert number of delegates] for [insert candidate's (or candidates') name(s)] for President of the United States.

Now we know that some of Senator Clinton's delegates will be hard-pressed to let go, despite her endorsement yesterday and her release today of their committed votes. And at some point, some very historic point, it is very likely that someone, and it is very likely that that someone will be Hillary Clinton, will step up to a microphone and move that the nomination of Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. be accepted as our nominee By Acclamation. And while there will be a few noes echoing in the chamber, it is likely the secretary will not hear them, and with the banging of her gavel declare the nomination process over.

And that is historic. That is cool. And we lived to see it.

O Happy Day.

Monday, August 25, 2008

377. My Comment at Blue Grass, Red State

Jefferson Poole is a young Republican wordsmith who operates the Blue Grass Red State blog. Although he doesn't wander far from the Republican Daily Talking Points, he does now and then have interesting entries and his personal writing is often worth reading. Yesterday was one of those occasions where he wandered, but not far. He posted an entry concerning an article in the Canadian publication Western Standard. Said article made the argument that government subsidies for culture are a bad thing.

Mr. Poole didn't offer an opinion on the article, although it clearly makes an argument which falls under the Grover Norquist mantra of "the less government the better," particularly if the argument calls for a decrease in what conservatives see as filthy lucre for liberal causes, which this article does. I offered a response, which I'd like to reprint below. To understand my response, you must first link to Mr. Poole's blog, and then to the article itself.

Aside from the political argument, there is also a comment on the misspelling of the article's headline.

Here is the link to Mr. Poole's blog.

Here is my response posted therein:

Is an s missing or a z? I tend to use the British spelling.

The Canadians, using the British variation of English, might possibly spell the word in question “subsidises.” In America, except for contrarions like me, we would certainly spell it “subsidizes.” The Western Standard headline editor obviously made an error, but not the one you may have expected.

In reading the article, the writer, whose name appears to be French, consistently uses the Americanized spelling, with a “z” rather than an “s.” The headline simply contains exactly what you said it did, an accidental misspelling, dropping either an “s” or a “z” depending upon the preference of the headline editor.

There are points in the article worth discussing. Much like our discussion in America about religious subsidies - faith-based initiatives, as they are known, the question becomes which tenets of which faith should a government support with subsidies in the form of faith-based initiatives. An atheist could argue that such faith-based initiatives are simply “cultural subsidies.” I’m not an atheist - I’m a baptised Christian who attends an Episcopal church - but I would have to agree. As the article suggests, the real solution would be to abolish all cultural subsidies, and by parallel reasoning this would include the so-called faith-based initiatives.

The article properly points out that those who are subsidized, in whatever manner, are simply those with lobbying prowess. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. It is left up to the government and others in the form of Oversight Committees, blogs, and the media, to make sure that the subsidy does precisely what it is intended to do, whatever its purpose, and to make sure such purposes are legitimate.

I’m not sure if cultural subsidies actually harm culture as the writer suggests. And I’d like to make clear that being opposed to cultural subsidies does not necessarily equate to opposing the teaching of art and music in school. Art and music and other fine arts have been cut out of the curricula of many schools in our country and as such I believe we have been harmed as a nation. I’m of the belief there is more to schooling than the traditional “three Rs” and the ability to pass tests. Recess has been all but eliminated. Athletics programs have been cut back in many schools, or their costs have been turned over to parents and supporters in the face of budget cuts. Are arts and music and recess and athletics part of “culture?” Could their funding be considered cultural subsidies? Do you support their elimination? I don’t.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

376. Genealogy 1666-2008, with a few earlier dates

My last entry drew one comment and a few emails with inquiries, but none of them said they were the 3:47 visitor from Atlanta. Nonetheless, I thought I'd follow up with another genealogy entry.

In the previous post, I mentioned three family lines, GALBRAITH, NOBLE, and HOCKENSMITH. The HOCKENSMITH is the most well known and there are several "cousins" who have been contributing to the research over many years, a number of whom I have exchanged emails with and all of whom know much more about it than I do. I am an amateur, they are pros. Similarly, much of what I know on the other lines has been gleaned from others' works.

Having said all thought, I wanted to trace back for you the line which reaches furthest back in time. The earliest known confirmed birth year I have is for Henry Brawner, born in 1627, married to Mary Elliott, born in 1629. But I am not sure of a few generations between 1682 and 1762. I have the names, but the dates don't work. I can follow the Galbraith line back to a confirmed birth date of 1666. Here is the Galbraith list, starting with Yours Truly.

1. Me. Jeffrey Thomas Noble, born 1960, Louisville, KY.
I am the son of Barbara Ellis Hockenmsith, born 1940, Frankfort, KY.

2. My mother. Barbara is the daughter of Vivian Thomas Lewis, born 1916 in Frankfort, died 1976 in Louisville.

3. My Grandmother. Vivian was the daughter of Rachel Scott Brawner, born 1895, died 1967, in Frankfort.

4. My Great-Grandmother. Rachel was the daughter of Henry Murray Brawner, born November 3, 1874, died February 20, 1900 in Frankfort.

5. My 2-Greats-Grandfather. Henry Murray Brawner was the son of James Galbraith Brawner. James was born February 25, 1846 and died March 18, 1918.

6. My 3-Greats-Grandfather. James Galbraith Brawner was the son of Robert A. Brawner who married Mary Catherine Murray on November 25, 1829 in Franklin County, Ky. Mary Catherine Murray was born in 1811 and died in Pennsylvania in 1851.

7. My 4-Greats-Grandmother. Mary Catherine Murray was the daughter of James Galbraith Murray and Anna Catherine Schneider, who after Murray's death married a Winebrenner. James Galbraith Murray was born February 20, 1781, baptized in the Trinity Lutheran Church of Donegal Township, Lancaster County, Pa. on April 12 of the same year and married Elizabeth Galbraith in 1779. I do not have a death date for James G. Murray.

8. My 5-Greats-Grandfather. James Galbraith Murray was the son of of Dr. Leckey (or Lackey or Lecky) Murray, born in 1750 in Tyrone, Ireland and Elizabeth Galbraith. I do not have a birth date for Elizabeth Galbraith. She died in 1846.

9. My 6-Greats-Grandmother. Elizabeth Galbraith was the daughter of Col. Bertram Galbraith and Anna Scott. Col. Bertram Galbraith was a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania hero of the "Big Runaway" battle of July 3, 1778. Colonel Galbraith was born September 24, 1738, married Anna Scott on March 30, 1759, and died March 9, 1804 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.

10. My 7-Greats-Grandfather. Col. Bertram Galbraith was the son of Lt. Col. James Galbraith, Jr., who was born in Ulster, Ireland in 1703, married to Elizabeth Bartram at Christ Church Episcopal Church in Philadelphia on April 6, 1734, and died in East Pennsboro, Pa., on Febraury 2, 1799. He and his wife are buried in the Derry Churchyard in Lancaster county.

11. My 8-Greats-Grandfather. James Galbraith, Jr. was the son of James Galbraith of what is now Northern Ireland. He was born in 1666 and died August 23, 1744 in Donegal, Pennsylvania. Galbraith, Jr.'s mother was Rebecca Chambers, probably born in 1667, but that has not been confirmed. There is no record that James, Sr. and Rebecca were ever married.

12. My 9-Greats-Grandfather. James Galbraith, Sr. is believed to be the son of a John Galbraith, also of what is now Northern Ireland, born about 1640 but his birth date cannot be confirmed. John would be my 10-Greats-Grandfather if confirmed. Rebecca Chambers, my 9-Greats-Grandmother, is known to be the daughter of Arthur Chambers. He is thought to have been born in what is now Northern Ireland in 1645 but this too has not been confirmed. If confirmed, Arthur would also be a 10-Greats-Grandfather.

Again, I can go back another generation or so following the Brawner line, but there are some funny numbers along the way. At some other time, we'll do this again. Do you recognize any of these names? We might just be cousins. After all, we all are sooner or later.

Friday, August 22, 2008

375. Inquiry

Most everyday I read the list of visitors to my site. I honestly don't pay too much attention to who comes and goes, it is just a curiosity thing. I have three different gadgets which record who visits, whence they came, and how long they stayed. They all give me different information and, oddly, they don't always seem to be in synch. Then again, I don't always know what I am reading.

Anyway, if there is a passion of mine bigger than politics, which of late has caused/cost me more than a little anguish among other things, that passion is genealogy. So my curiosity is piqued by a visit about 3:47 today which was prompted by a Yahoo search of "Elijah Milford Hockensmith, Sr." Those are pretty exact search terms - they constitute in fact the full name of my mother's grandfather, for whom my youngest nephew is named. The visit may have been at 4:47, since my gadgets operate on different timezones for some reason which I can't seem to correct.

I have been back on a genealogy kick of late, filling in some gaps in my Galbraith and related lines from Pennsylvania in the late 1600s and early 1700s, as well as my Noble line from Alabama, which I am just beginning to build with data from the late 1800s. The Hockensmith line, back to Konrad Hockensmith, Sr. (there are various spellings of both his first and last names) is pretty well established and confirmed. He was born in Europe around 1720, arrived in the United States in 1739, and fathered several children by his first wife whose name is presently unknown. He lived and died in the Frederick, Maryland area where he is buried. He died sometime between the writing of his Last Will on May 31, 1793 and its probation on May 15, 1795. I am related to him through two of his children, Conrad Jr., also known as Edward, and Johann Michael, who went by Michael. A number of his descendants eventually arrived and lived and died in central Kentucky and our Commonwealth's capital city is home to more than its fair share of Hockensmiths and Hockersmiths which are the same family.

But, I digress.

At 3:47 pm today, someone from Atlanta, Gerogia using a email address, or at 4:47 pm, someone using a Time-Warner Telecom address, interestingly also in Atlanta, entered the search terms "Elijah Milford Hockemsith, Sr." into a Yahoo search and ended up reading either the July, 2007 or August, 2007 archived entries of this blog. I have never asked my readers to out themselves before, but I am curious. If whoever it was is back reading this, drop me an email. My regular email address is


374. As Seen on TV

Earlier in the day, I ran into one of very favorite people, my friend Stuart, in the courthouse alley – always a dangerous place to hang out in Louisville - who informs me he is off to the airport and en route to Denver. He actually said Boulder and I’m sure he said it for a reason. After all, his professional trade is serving as a spokesperson.

I wished him well on what will prove to be one of our Republic’s most historic occasions, the nomination by a major political party of a non-white as its candidate for President of the United States. By any measurement, that’s just cool. Anyone who reads back through my entries will find that I never thought we would be confirming the nomination of United States Senator Barack Obama at our convention next week. Although I had the pleasure of meeting him at the September 2006 rally at Slugger Field, had signed up for the Draft Obama website only a day after its inception, and have been totally mesmerized like so many others, for a very long time I thought another United States Seantor, Hillary Clinton, would be our nominee.

Even so, neither of them was my first choice. That was United States Senator Chris Dodd, the person (other than Mike Gravel) who best represented my positions on a number of issues, as well as the second oldest of the old white men running as a Democrat for president this year. Gravel was the oldest. Of course, across the aisle, both John McCain and (well across the aisle) Ron Paul are considerably older than Chris Dodd. Congressman Paul was 73 on the 20th; Senator McCain will be 72 on the 29th. For the record, Senator Obama is eleven months younger than me, and I’m pretty damn young by comparison to McCain and Paul.

I really wanted to attend the convention this year and had early on made inquiries about doing so in some capacity other than a delegate or an alternate, neither of which I sought at the State Convention back in June. Since then, a number of my friends, and a few who aren’t friends, have asked me to join them, offering rides in their cars, and floorspace in their hotel rooms once there. Such offers reminded me of a few Young Democrats of America conventions I attended back when I was thinner, younger, and had more hair than my friend Stuart does now. But, alas, those days have passed.

I’ve been watching both the Democratic and Republican conventions on television since I was a little kid. Even though I gave up TV in 1984, the two conventions, along with the Winter and Summer Olympics, are events which have always drawn me back to the television set, at least for a few days. But with the advent of live blogging and wireless feeds, I’m more likely to be tuned to a computer screen this time around. Even so, being there would be so much more educational, and (tongue planted firmly in cheek) perhaps even fun. One could only imagine who I might see, what I might say, or where I might find myself, given five days of freedom at the Pepsi Center (above) in the Mile High City with 5,000 delegates, another 15,000 media types, and 45,000 or more lookers-on, the category in which I would be found. Oh the possibilities.

Instead, like the rest of the world, I’ll be watching from afar, in this case about 1,100 miles due east of the action. But, I won’t be the only one watching. Suffice it to say, this is one convention whose pounding gavels, campaign speeches, and uproarious celebrations will be heard not only here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, but throughout our land and all the others on the relatively small orb in the endless skies we call home. And its importance is for the moment immeasurable. That will be left to historians twenty, fifty, or one hundred years from now.

Let the games begin.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

373. Sunday Morning Obsequies

Do you remember that word? Obsequies. It is a strange word, the plural of obsequy, a word I have honestly never used or written before in my life. Related words are obsequious, sequel, sequence, and others. The ob- in the word is a prefix meaning over or toward. The sequi- root means to follow. Thus obsequies are that which follow an event, in this case a funeral.

Many of us first read it in tenth grade English, the class where many of us first read a lot of things. It is from the Fifth Act of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The text is below, taken from one of my favorite scenes in literature, that of the Grave Yard. The foolishness between Hamlet, Horatio, and the gravediggers is followed by the very serious funeral service itself, of Ophelia, Hamlet's lady friend and sister to Laertes, who questions the priest about the funeral service, which Laertes feels is lacking. His words are exchanged with that of the priest leading the funeral procession.

What ceremony else?

First Priest
Her obsequies have been as far enlarged
As we have warrantise: her death was doubtful;
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodged
Till the last trumpet: for charitable prayers,
Shards, flints and pebbles should be thrown on her;
Yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants,
Her maiden strewments and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.

Must there no more be done?

First Priest
No more be done:
We should profane the service of the dead
To sing a requiem and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.

You've probably thought no more about such obsequies, or even the word obsequies, since your last reading or most recent viewing of the play, or perhaps since Tenth Grade English. Yet, the headline on the front page of today's Courier-Journal Metro Section is about just that, obsequies. Playing the part of Shakespeare's First Priest is Father Jeffrey Leger, pastor of Saint Catherine Church, at right, in Nelson County, Kentucky's cradle of Catholism. Father Leger has sent a letter to area funeral directors informing them he must participate and approve funerals performed for Catholics in a Catholic church, and that they will strictly follow Canon Law and liturgical practices, something that many funerals have slipped away from. Fr. Leger specifically is concerned about certain types of readings, the music used, and eulogies spoken, which have no legitimate place in a Catholic Mass. Non-biblical readings, some recorded music, and poetry and prose offered on behalf of the deceased have a place, but not during the Mass, according to Fr. Leger. He suggests such diversions from the text should take place at the Vigil, usually held the night before.

Father Leger is also taking the strong position of forbidding a Mass for those Catholics who have not been in attendance at Mass, or others who have strayed from Catholic teaching. He used the words "notorious apostates, heretics, schismatics, and other manifest sinners." Rather strong language. He will allow some of these people a Rite of Christian Burial, but not the Mass itself. He is also restricting who can preside at a funeral Mass, requiring that he be the presiding priest of a Mass at his church, even if the deceased had as a friend or family member a fellow priest.

And for such actions, Fr. Leger and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville are being sued by a New Haven funeral director, Ron Rust, our modern day Laertes, except Laertes accepted the words of the priest; Mr. Rust's response to Fr. Leger's action was to file a lawsuit in the Nelson Circuit Court.

Lawsuits and Courthouses are often the final refuge of those who feel they've been harmed by another person's or group of persons' actions. Ending up in court is usually the last place one who feels they've been wronged want to end up. But, there are times that such an action is necessary, when the wheels turned by those in charge of events turn them so as to impend upon the beliefs or even livelihood of another. To use Mario Savio's famous words from December of 1964, "There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!" Funeral director Rust has used the filing of a lawsuit as a means of putting his bodies upon the gears and wheels of the Hierarchic Government known as the Roman Catholic Church.

I have a reputation in some circles, but not others, for adhering to rules, adhering to processes. In this matter with Fr. Leger and Mr. Rust, I have a divided mind. As many of you know, I have been questioning some of the practices and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church for a little over five years, and I've been questioning my allegiance to the same. I've been a member of the church since May, 1979. Since 2003, I've been on a journey, seeking to find a different way of practicing my beliefs and faith in God, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, and in humanity. It has not been an easy road - it has frankly been very difficult - and I have not yet made the decision - or any decision - within the timeframe I had originally allotted to do so. I may grant myself another five years to find an answer.

But, in this matter, Fr. Leger is correct - the practices he seeks to end are in opposition to Church Law, although they are customs more honored in the breach than the observance. In recent times, I've attended two funeral masses which, apparently, would not have met with Fr. Leger's approval. At the Mass for the mother of my friend Morgan Ransdell, one of the celebrants was Fr. Jim Lichtefeld who was a relative of the deceased, although he may not have been the main celebrant, which would have brought him under Fr. Leger's concern. There were also a number of eulogists at her funeral. At another funeral, that of my late Uncle Don Noble in 2005, ironically presided over by the same Fr. Lichtefeld, two eulogies were offered, one by the deceased's brother-in-law and the other by me, on behalf of my father who was too overcome to do so. Fr. Leger is seeking to end such personal touches in the name of Church Law.

So my questioning isn't really of Fr. Leger's actions. He is doing what he is trained and required to do as a priest. He is following law - he is following a process. And while I tend to agree with him that sometimes such additions tend to bastardise the Mass, there are other rules and regulations of the Church which I find anti-Christian to be very honest, which thus makes me a heretic I suppose. The early church and indeed the sacred scripture which have come down to us in the Bible offered two sets of commandments, or rules. The Ten Commandments in the Old Testament cover a multitude of sins with the very well known "Thou shalt nots". But, for Christians, that is followers of Christ, which the Roman Catholic Church purports to do, Jesus, for whom the religion is named, offered only two. In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark he said quite simply, to Love the Lord and to Love your Neighbor. He emphasized the briefness of his response with "All the Law and the Prophets" are fulfilled in these two commandments.

Thus, when one believes a law is wrong, they have two avenues of relief. One is to change the believed-wrong law from within by infusing oneself into the organization to the extent that one can thereby offer changes to the offending canon. The other is to remove oneself wholly from the jurisdiction of the offending law's controlling authority. I've been down both roads in different situations with different parties. Neither is easy and both can be time consuming and costly.

I'm not sure which is correct or if there is a correct solution. But, there must be a solution. We are a people of compromise and we have a destiny as humanity to always proceed, always make ways of moving forward. An obsequy, in its ancient etymological sense taken from the Latin, is just that - the compliant dutiful service of moving forward. So we shall.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Three Quick Notes

1. The Jeffersonville/George Rogers Clark Little League game was postponed last night in Pennsylvania due to rain. It will start at 10:00 am today. Go Jeff.

2. Congratulations to my longtime friend and now former boss Irv Maze upon his appointment to the Jefferson Circuit Court bench. Best Wishes Judge Maze.

3. Congratulations to my longtime friend and now current boss Michael J. O' Connell, who was appointed to fill the vacancy created by Judge Maze's elevation to the bench. Best wishes, boss.

Friday, August 15, 2008

371. Old News and New

Wednesday night’s showing of Mollie Bingham and Steve Connors’ Iraqi war documentary Meeting Resistance was quite a success. Major kudos are extended to Bruce Maples, president of the Metro Democratic Club, for putting this together – literally. He conceived the idea many months ago running it by a number of us as to whether we could pull it off. Bringing an international photojournalist and director to town, even one who calls Louisville home, was a very lofty goal and ambitious undertaking. After months of the rest of us stalling, Maples just did it. He called Ms. Bingham, told her what he wanted, and she said yes. Woohoo!

About 125 people attended the screening held at the American Legion Highland Post on Bardstown Road, many of whom weren’t members of the club. The event was financially underwritten by Congressman John Yarmuth, Louisville attorney and former Circuit Judge Michael O’Connell, Congressional candidate Heather Ryan, Carmichael’s Bookstore (celebrating “Thirty Years of Independence” as a hometown bookseller), and the Louisville Peace and Justice Coalition.

The film is an emotional look at the people of Iraq and how some of them feel about the war we in, in which we are seen as occupiers and enemies. There are scenes from several different locales and interviews with a number of Iraqis from all walks of life. The film has been met with opposition from all corners with some labeling it as un-American. After the showing, there was a Q&A session with the audience as Bingham and Connors answered a wide range of questions on the film itself, the making of the film, and the responses to the film. However, the final question of the night was not related to the film at all. Bryan Smith, who was representing cosponsor Heather Ryan, asked Ms. Bingham if, upon the presumed wide success of the film, would she consider using her fortune to come back home to buy up the Courier-Journal. The question was met with warm applause, an indication of the how many in this community (including this writer) feel about the Gannett-owned Courier, a very brief and mere shadow of the once great newspaper led by her father, grandfather, and great grandfather. Her pithy response was brief and to the point, “Print media is dead.”

Many in the house didn’t know exactly how to respond to that. We all know our own local paper is not what it once was and is likely to never be so again. But many still subscribe to it and others. The large Sunday editions of the big national papers, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and others are to be found in living rooms and coffee shops all across the Republic, some with enough paper to read all week. Then there are other alternative print media which have niches here and there such as the Louisville Eccentric Observer, or LEO.

Still, while many of us are modern-day typesetters, pecking away on a keyboard, the type we set for our epistles and tomes are read not in print but on the internet, as you are doing here. Whether on the websites of newspapers or other media, or on individual blogs like mine, lots of folks get lots of news – or would be or wannabe news – via the internet. Blogs and other e-media are the place to be when it comes to on-the-spot news. There are no “We interrupt this program . . . ” type announcements that many of us grew up with. You can set yourself up with instant news on any subject through a variety of means. Of course, if you are reading this, you already know that. Nonetheless, hearing this woman whose family name in this town means something admit to the death of print media still comes as a shock of some sort. Newspapers were one of the identifying marks of a great city (or large town, such as Louisville could rightfully be called). There was a day – probably in the 1950s and 1960s – that simply saying “The Courier-Journal” meant something to a number of people across the country and that something helped place Louisville on the grand map of the Republic.

No more. The Courier-Journal is simply a local edition of the Gannett news organ, and has grown worse each year since the demise of the Bingham media empire over twenty years ago. A time will come soon that all the Gannett papers will have the same three or four national news pages as the “Front” section, followed by local news inserts, much the same way that the current Courier-Journal treats the various “Neighborhood” sections today. They are basically the same throughout the community with one or two stories germane to the particular neighborhood section they are in and no more. It is a loss for those of us who prefer to read real news on a real page of paper, and even from time to time find that the black print has rubbed off on our fingers as we turn the pages.

That's the old news.

Here's the new news.

Baseball is in the news. Last Friday night I had the pleasure of attending a Louisville Bats game with the owner of the professional baseball team in the Quad-Cities area along the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa. Dave Heller was in Louisville on other business and decided to take in a night of local baseball and I was his host. That was pretty cool. But, closer to home, that is closer than Davenport, Iowa, there is more baseball news. Six short years ago a local Little League team, Valley Sports, made it all the way to the Little League World Series - and won. I remember sitting with my friend Sherry in her living room watching the game. As I recall, there were two outs when the opposition batter hit a line drive, brought down quickly by Valley Sports' pitcher, thus getting the third out, ending the inning, and winning the Series. That was a great community booster.

Tonight the thrill is back. From across the river in Jeffersonville, Indiana, the George Rogers Clark Little League team is headed for local immortality. They are starting play (at 8:00 pm) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania against a team from Hagerstown, Maryland. Stand up and cheer for these little leaguers as they put their home town and our community on the map once again as baseball standouts. Good Luck Jeffersonville.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

370. Where there's Smoke, there's Fire

So, let me set the picture for you. I was talking on my cell phone to Lisa Tanner, the Yarmuth Campaign's Field Director, about a variety of issues including some plans later this week in the South End of Jefferson County, a key area in this fall's repeat of 2006's success. I get in my car and pull out of my complex, which is about three blocks south of the John Yarmuth for Congress headquarters, which is at Campbell and Market - I live at Campbell and Madison. I stopped and looked up and reported to Lisa, "I think our headquarters is on fire." Gasp!

All I could see was heavy black smoke rolling out onto Campbell Street at or near the Yarmuth building, an ancient brick two and a half story edifice which formerly housed the Hausman Motor Company as a Jeep dealership, and later the Obama for President campaign earlier this Spring. I could have raced through the three stop lights separating me from a closer look, but fortunately they coursed through to green and I preceded posthaste. As I approached, I could see, thankfully, it wasn't Yarmuth, but instead the outdoor warehouse immediately behind us, owned by the Premium Seed Company and storing what appears to be a large amount of building material. I circled around the corner and into the Yarmuth parking lot where I was facing the fire head on. By this time I had hung up on Lisa and was talking to the Louisville Fire and Rescue dispatch officer, telling her in detail exactly what I was seeing. She assured me trucks were on the way and in no time - literally seconds - their sirens could be heard coming from all directions.

The office manager and a campaign volunteer came outside into the parking lot with me to see what was going on given that the intersection outside the front door was fully populated by big red fire engines and a host of firefighters. In short order, their hoses were connected to hydrants and water was sprayed on the fire, which at its greatest was seemed to be an area of about sixty foot square. Soon the black smoke turned to white - and being Catholic I thought about a new Pope being elected - and the fire was put down. Bravo, Louisville Fire and Rescue.

This all happened in the last thirty minutes. The fire is apparently out although the street is still completely blocked by fire equipment and personnel. From having walked back and forth several times between my home and the Yarmuth headquarters, I know there is a large store of lumber kept in there and I imagine there is concern some embers remains here and there which may reignite the fire.

Hopefully, this particular fire will be the end of my excitement for the day.

Tomorrow, by the way, is fully scheduled.

For me, there is a curious meeting to be had in Frankfort at the seat of our Commonwealth's government, one which I did not exactly seek out but welcome whatever may come of it.

Later in the day, the Metro Democratic Club is having its screening of Mollie Bingham's Meeting Resistance. You are invited. The meeting will be held in the large hall of the Highland Post on Bardstown Road about 3 blocks north of the Watterson. The meeting will start at 6:00 pm. Hope to see you there.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

369. Trips to Win

The weather has been ideal the last few days - lows in the 60s, highs in the 80s. The mercury is scheduled to climb a wee bit as this week proceeds, but there can't be any complaints, especially after the heat of the last few days of July and the first few of August. It is currently 82 degrees and beautiful.

One of the things I haven't written about this year is my garden - or if I have I've already forgotten. In years past, in houses past, I've had nice gardens, and relatively nicely-sized gardens for the very small city-sized plots of ground I've lived upon, the plots usually covering about 1/10 to 2/10 of a acre at most - the gardens covering maybe a 10 x 10 or 10 x 15 foot area. I had not had a garden since leaving my Ellison Avenue home in 2005, where I had flowers in the front and vegetables in the back.

Back when I lived on Lee Avenue is Camp Taylor - my first home other than the one I grew up in - where I lived seventeen years and which is still in my possession, the entirety of the garden was in the front since the back yard was a pie shaped quarter acre piece of ground going for the most part straight up hill. There I had flowers for nine out of twelve months and pepper and tomato plants lined the right side side of the driveway. I was in a polite but unspoken competition with my neighbor across the street, Mr. Widman, about who got the earliest tomatoes. The secret was to have them in the ground by Derby Day so as to have them on the table by the Fourth of July. Neither of us ever acknowledged the competition outright, but we both watched the other's garden's progress with a keen eye. The one thing I did let grow fairly wild in the back yard were pumpkin plants, whose strands of vines took off all across the hillside, and sometimes well into my neighbors' back yards. Where I am now, in a complex of townhomes and six-plex apartment buildings, outdoor gardens are discouraged. They may even be prohibited. Nonetheless, I have one.

Outside my back door, and off to the left of my little eight-foot-square patio is an even smaller garden. It is comprised of one tomato plant, one pepper plant, one banana pepper plant, and one sprout of kale. There is also one of those old fashioned concrete trough-style planters which has about ten pepper plants growing in it, sprung from seeds I had saved from several years ago. There are also several planters gracing the patio in which, if one were to look closely, one might note wryly there is nothing growing. The whole garden proper covers maybe 20 square feet, which works out to about 46/100,000th of an acre. An enterprising real estate agent would euphemistically call is "just under an acre."

I miss my bigger gardens and hope someday to have a respectable garden of perhaps a quarter acre or more - of flat land, not a hillside as I did in Camp Taylor. Toiling in the garden is great for the psyche, pretty good as exercise (which I otherwise do not get), spiritually uplifting, and the reward is knowing that here is something produced by me with the admirable help of God and Mother Nature, who sometimes work in tandem and sometimes don't. Sun and Rain and Wind are nice up to a point. I have to say this year's work on my miniature farmstead has thus far been enjoyable.

I've harvested four banana peppers thus far and nothing more. I expect to have tomatoes enough for me and maybe one friend, and peppers in a like quantity. The pepper plants in the concrete planter are for show only - no fruits are expected from that. Sometime late next month, it is my intention to bury some bulbs along the perimeter of the fence around the eight-by-eight patio in the hopes of seeing flowers from them late next winter and early next spring. We'll see how that goes.

That's all for now. By the way, today's title really has nothing to do with this entry's content. But I did think it was appropriate for this entry.

Enjoy the week.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

368. Here and There

Next Wednesday, August 13th, is the Metro Democratic Club's August meeting. The club will be featuring a showing of Mollie Bingham's Iraq War film titled Meeting Resistance. This is a free screening which will begin sometime around 6:00 pm, with a Q&A session with Ms. Bingham and others at the meeting. It will be held at the American Legion Highland Post on Bardstown Road a few blocks north of the Watterson Expressway in Louisville. Please attend and view this very important film.

The next night, August 14th, is a fundraiser for David Watson, our Democratic candidate for State Representative in Jefferson County's 48th House District, which is to say the north and eastern precincts of the county, generally (but not specifically) east of the Watterson and north of Westport Road. The fundraiser will be held at the 21C Hotel downtown at 7th and Main starting at 6:30 pm. Congressman John Yarmuth is one of the co-sponsors of the event.

I know there is a fundraiser scheduled for Metro Council District candidate Brent Ackerson, the Democrat running in the 26th, scheduled for the 26th of August. I will get more details.

As we get closer and closer to the election, there will be more and more opportunities for one to be parted with their money in the name of electing Democrats. I suggested to a friend today that one of the best uses for the Bush Economic Stimulus checks we've all received would be to invest some or all of it in a Democratic candidate's election this fall. Unless you have already used it to pay your LG&E bill for the winter. I understand.

A friend of mine mentioned he might want to do a "southern tour" of the Commonwealth sometime soon, taking the trip across the bottom of the state along the KY 80 route mentioned in a previous post. There is the Shaker community at South Union, the cities of Russellville and Elkton, and the obelisk, shown at right, marking the birthplace of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America, who like Abraham Lincoln, was born 200 years ago here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Davis' 200th has passed, it was June 3 - Lincoln's will follow on February 12 of next year. Incidentally, the obelisk is the tallest one of concrete anywhere in the Republic.

Finally we talked about doing some camping. I've got an idea that if the trip can be postponed until the first weekend in September, I could be convinced to do some camping somewhere along Kentucky or Barkley Lake, an area I visited last weekend, but left a few sites unvisited. A friend of mine is planning to take some horses down to the equine area in the Land Between the Lakes and I might go over and spend some time with her while in the area. And the big Saint John's picnic and the Lone Oak Ham Dinner will be held that same weekend in nearby McCracken County.

Just some thoughts.

Monday, August 4, 2008

367. Fancy Farm and Environs - the post post.

I suppose I’m required (and by way of Olivia’s comment in the last entry I’ve been requested) to post an entry post-Fancy Farm as to my take on the weekend. As I’ve written in several places several times, the real purpose of Fancy Farm and the other events surrounding it is the indulgence of food. I know, there is that bit about political speeches and lots of glad-handing, and all that happened too.

I arrived in the region a little later than usual on Friday, therefore missing the Labor event in Paducah and Mike Cherry’s Garden Party in Princeton, and driving straight into Kentucky Dam Village in Gilberstville. And, before going any further, let me make a comment related to those two events which I missed that many people tend to overlook. Princeton, the county seat of Caldwell County – and you can tell the locals from the rest of us by how they pronounce their county name, and Paducah, the county seat of McCracken County, are separated by approximately 45 miles of US 62. Kentucky Dam Village, in Marshall County, where Friday night’s headline event was the Marshall County Bean Dinner, is about exactly halfway between the two previously mentioned county seats. If there is one thing about Fancy Farm that people tend to forget, it is the driving.

First, for most of us, it is quite a haul. Louisville to Fancy Farm is about 240 miles, depending on which route you take. Like going from Louisville to Frankfort, there are options other than I-64. From the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, most people take I-65 to the WK Parkway, then I-24 to the Purchase Parkway south to KY 80 west the eight miles over to Fancy Farm, a small rural Graves County village largely populated by Roman Catholics, at the intersection of KY 339 and KY 80, about one mile west of the Graves/Carlisle county line. Imagine coming from Ashland as my friend Marcus Woodward did and you’ll add another 150 miles. If a person started where KY 80 enters the Commonwealth on the east, just east of Elkhorn City in Pike County, and travelled the length of that highway which crosses the bottom of the state over to Fancy Farm, the trip would be 445 miles – one way. (There is an 11 mile stretch between US 641 in Murray and KY 121 south of Mayfield, where the new KY 80 is under construction and the two ends of the road do not yet meet). The point is one doesn’t just travel to and from Fancy Farm, unless the purpose of one’s trip is simply the picnic.

On Friday evening, the night started with the aforementioned Bean Supper, held at the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park Convention Hall. The menu is known in advance – bean soup, watermelon, and cornbread. The soup was more than usually spicy and I made the mistake of adding some hot pepper sauce. Any remnant of last week’s head cold was overcome by the bean soup. It took quite a few slices of watermelon to overcome the heat. Following the Bean Supper, I also dropped in on several house parties in the Executive Cottages section. One of those was hosted by a group of friends, many of whom were friends of mine, including Aaron Horner and Will Carle, who greeted me upon arrival. The second more crowded and boisterous was hosted by Eddie Jacobs and the Kentucky Democratic Party, held in its traditional location of Cabin #316. Food and drink was widely available including some very delicious slaw, baked beans, and the requisite bar-be-cue of some sort. For a brief moment I found myself possessing a Mason-jar containing a clear liquid which might have described as being “of an intoxicating nature.” I’m not sure what the liquid was and there was a time when I wouldn’t have hesitated to take a sip – maybe it could be put away for some future “medicinal purpose.” In any event, KDP Chair Jennifer Moore, who was closely watching me and the Mason-jar and its contents, strongly suggested I “resist the temptation,” and on this particular occasion, I followed her advice. Before Friday night turned into Saturday morning, I departed to make my way to where I was sleeping, which was 24 miles away in the McCracken County community of Lone Oak, which, coincidentally is the hometown of KDP Chair Moore.

On Saturday morning, before heading the 21 miles over to Mayfield and the Graves County Democratic Party Breakfast, a pretty much straight shot due south on US 45, I took the time to do some leisure driving to different parts of the Purchase. I trekked southeast to the Aurora community and crossed the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge over Kentucky Lake and Tennessee River along US 68 into Trigg County and the Land Between the Lakes. Turning off into the Fenton camping area, I took off my shoes and socks and wandered about four feet out into the lake, the largest manmade lake in the eastern United States. This is an old idiosyncrasy of mine when crossing some bodies of water – doffing the shoes and sticking my toes into these old inland waterways – in this case an old inland waterway now writ large upon the maps by the damming in 1938 of the Tennessee River as a flood control measure after the devastating floods in 1937 which affected cities and towns throughout the Midwest, including our own here in Louisville.

Leaving the lake, I wandered west along the new KY 80, a very wide four-lane divided highway connecting Kentucky Lake with US 641, a mile or two north of Murray. Eventually it will connect with KY 121 in Mayfield, and excepting a two-mile portion of US 45 between the Purchase Parkway and Mayfield itself, provide a four-lane connection between Paducah and the Land Between the Lakes. I left the new road for the old KY 464, making my way back to Mayfield, venturing through the communities of Almo, Kirksey, and Backusburg in Calloway County, and nine miles through nowhere in Graves County before entering into the city limits of the Graves County seat. Along the way on this trip, and the others I took while in the area, I was wearing my Obama for President button and made repeated attempts to engage the folks I met, at gas stations, convenience stores, little farmstands, and anywhere else, as to their feelings on the presidential race.

I’ve been told trying to get votes for Obama in this part of the Commonwealth is a lost cause – told that by some of the Democrats charged with trying to get those votes. I wanted to hear it for myself. Even the folks I stayed with in Paducah, each an active Democrat, are planning on casting ballots for McCain this fall, despite my (and others) protestations. So, at each stop I asked “How do feel about the election?” Responses ranged from pleasure at the opportunity for change to polite but clear antagonism. For most people in the Purchase, voting for a Democrat in a Federal election – any Democrat – is something they haven’t been doing very often for a number of years. It was voters such as these that the “Southern Strategy” was developed and executed by Republicans seeking the presidency and the Congress, starting back with Strom Thurmond’s 1948 run for president as a Democrat turned Dixiecrat, and popularized in Richard Nixon’s 1968 election over Hubert Humphrey. In a New York Times article dated May 17, 1970, Nixon political strategist Kevin Phillips stated

“From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.”

Some of the whites Kevin Phillips was talking about are alive and well and voting in the seven counties which comprise the Jackson Purchase portion of Kentucky, being Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall, and McCracken. My visits over the weekend took me to all but Fulton and Hickman. The registration in this area is 3-1 Democratic, but the voting patterns are noticeably warped, with Democrats holding local offices, while Democrats and Republican together hold the state offices (including one Democrat who used to be a Republican and one Independent who used to be a Republican and before that a Democrat), and Republicans only holding the federal offices. Former State Senator and Congressman Carroll Hubbard is attempting to win the 1st Senate District this fall, hoping to unseat Republican Ken Winters. Two years ago, Hubbard came very close to unseating the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent Bob Leeper in the 2nd Senate District. These two senate districts cover all of the Purchase area. In the House, the first six districts cover the purchase with four Democrats, one Republican, and the one Republican-turned Democrat in office. Only the Republican, Steve Rudy in the 1st, faces a challenge, from popular Democrat Mike Lawrence. It is possible that both of these contested races for the General Assembly will turn out the Republican in favor of the Democrat. That would be good news.

All of the Purchase falls within the First Congressional District of Kentucky, long held by Florida resident Ed Whitfield, who uses his mother’s home address in Hopkinsville as his own. Nonetheless he has held onto the seat steadfastly. He is challenged this year by Heather Ryan, a welcome newcomer to politics, who is a resident of Paducah, and frankly has a bone to pick with Mitch McConnell, whom she believes is responsible for her dismissal from a previous employer. Ryan has proved popular especially among younger voters who will, without question, be playing a greater role in this fall’s election outcome moreso than anytime in recent history, probably dating back to the 1960 presidential election of John Kennedy. Ryan is providing the fodder to keep Whitfield (and McConnell) on his toes throughout the mostly conservative 1st District. Ryan gave a rousing speech at Fancy Farm, clearly identifying herself as “one of the people” as opposed to “one of the Special Interest boys” as Whitfield clearly is. Her presence makes for an interesting debate. As an aside, she and her campaign are looking for a Red Dodge Pickup Truck with a Red topper on it and a Whitfield for Congress sticker on the back. The license number is 640ASC. There is a video of the driver and passenger of that truck dashing away after having torn down some Heather Ryan signs at Fancy Farm. If you see the Red Dodge Pickup Truck, license number 640ASC, contact the Ryan campaign right away. There might be some prosecutin' going on soon.

But, my stopping here to chat up the presidential race ultimately didn’t seem to yield too many Obama votes. I found responses of “I would have voted for Hillary this fall” to “I’ll vote the straight Democratic ticket this time except for Obama” (which in and of itself is a welcome change), to the one I was really expecting and got once or twice “I’ll close my eyes and hold my nose and vote the straight Democratic ticket.” From my perspective, this will be a win. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how you get them, just so you do ultimately get them. I remember writing in the past that I belonged to a Democratic Party whose tent was big enough for both me and State Labor Commissioner and former State Representative J. R. Gray, who represented parts of the Purchase for a quarter century. This fall’s election we’ll see how far the seams can be strained and stretched to get everyone under the tent.

But, I digressed. Back to the food.

Saturday morning’s event is the Graves County Democratic Party Breakfast in Mayfield of country ham, bacon, scrambled eggs, biscuits and gravy, and coffee. Not for the light of stomach. I sat at table with Tim Delahanty and his daughter to my right and John Weikel to my left, all Louisvillians. Food and conversation went well. Even the speeches were good, frankly better than hearing them again later in the afternoon at the main event.

Usually a few hours transpire between the breakfast in Mayfield and lunch on the Fancy Farm Picnic grounds, about 12 miles to the northeast. This year I arrived early with two friends and, knowing the lines can be long and the temperatures are always in the 90s, we proceeded to the chow lines at the rear of the picnic where dinner is served in the air-conditioned Knights of Columbus Hall. Usually it takes about 45 minutes of standing in line before being admitted to the gastronomic extravaganza. This year, however, the line opened early and was thus shorter than usual. Having only finished breakfast an hour and a half earlier, I proceeded to fill up on beef and mutton, fried chicken, green beans, corn, limas, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a variety of pies, all served with sweet-tea (is there any other kind?). I was seated with Ken Herndon and Nick Wilkerson, both of Louisville, and next to Rose Jordan, also of Louisville, and her sister from Lawrenceburg. We were seated opposite a Ms. Nancy O’ Bryan (I think), with whom we had exchanged some unpleasantries whilst waiting in the chow line over her non-support of the presumed Democratic nominee for president. She had been and remains a strong and committed supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton and stated her clear unwillingness to support the likely Democratic candidate for president in no uncertain terms. While dining she tried repeatedly to goad us into a conversation about the matter to no avail. Finally, accepting defeat, at least at this setting, she commented that “despite the fact the slaw had too much mayonnaise, it was still good.” We all laughed a nervous laugh which broke the tension and allowed for some civil exchange of thought. She was right, there was too much mayonnaise in the slaw, which was nonetheless pretty good.

After dinner came the speechifying under the big pavilion. I suppose everyone has already read on other more technologically-advanced blogs how the speeches went – you could follow along word-by-word on some – live blogging as it is called. Suffice it to say very few of the speeches were truly inspiring, with the clear exceptions of Governor Beshear and Heather Ryan, and though her’s was good, the governor’s was exceptional. As was the case last year, McConnell seemed “off his game” and Bunning rambled on so long reading the Republican Party’s Daily Bulletin that he had to be called for time by State Representative Rocky Adkins of Elliott County, who served as Master of Ceremonies. At one point I wandered away from the speeches and played several games of Bingo but I didn’t win. I also bought a chance on the Capital Prize, filling in my mother’s name for the 2009 Jeep they were giving away. Since she hasn’t called me, it is safe to assume they haven’t called her with any winning news.

Eventually, I left the picnic and returned to Paducah with Ken Herndon, to his parents’ house. After showers and a change of clothes, we made our way to another meeting, with yet more food. The Kentucky Fairness Alliance chose to hold its 3rd Quarter meeting in the area, at the home of one of its officers, Jody Cofer, in Benton, about 28 miles southeast of Paducah. Benton is the county seat of Marshall County and Jody’s home is a little to the east of town along the old road running between Benton and Birmingham, a town now submerged under the waters of Kentucky Lake. Before its purchase by the TVA and submergence in the waters, Birmingham was Marshall County’s largest city. Jody provided a meal of fried catfish, cornbread, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions, and pie, along with whatever one wished to drink, with my wish being a Sierra Mist. One more meeting; one more meal.

After an evening of food and conversation, bedtime arrived sometime very late which was in fact very early Sunday morning, back in Paducah. As is always the case when I go to bed well past my usual bedtime of 9:30-ish, I awoke with the rising of the sun around 6:00 local time and set out for another morning drive. This one took me to Metropolis, Illinois among other places, across the Ohio River and a few miles downriver from Paducah. Metropolis is home to a gambling boat of some sort as well as the Fort Massac State Park, from which Revolutionary General George Rogers Clark (the founder of Louisville, whose brother William founded Paducah) launched his Western Offensive after having boated down the Ohio River from Louisville, the goal of which it was to capture British forts here and there, which he did. I drove through the park and then returned from the formerly French soil of Illinois to the formerly Chickasaw and Cherokee soil of Kentucky. I headed out to Wickliffe and finally back to Paducah, where with the weekend coming to an end, I began the journey back to Jefferson County.

Two final thoughts. First, gasoline was priced, for the most part, in the $3.70s. The cheapest gas in the region was in Lone Oak on US 45 where it was $3.719. The cheapest along the trip was in Lebanon Junction on KY 61 at I-65’s Exit #105 where it was $3.699. I filled up in Lebanon Junction coming and going.

Finally, today being August 4th, should you happen to see United States Senator Barack Obama, wish him a Happy 47th Birthday. For the next fifty days, Barack and I are the same age. He was born 47 years ago today in Honolulu, Hawaii, one of the 50 states. Should he be elected, at 47 years, 3 months, and 2 days, he would not be the country’s youngest president. Teddy Roosevelt holds that distinction, having assumed the office upon the assassination of President McKinley at the age of 42. John Kennedy was the youngest person ever elected, taking office at the age of 43. Both Ulysses Grant and Bill Clinton were 46 when taking office. Obama will be nine months younger than Grover Cleveland was at his first inaugural. On the other hand, on the outside chance that McCain wins, he would be the oldest person ever inaugurated to a first term. John McCain will be 72 later this month, having been born August 29, 1936 in a Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone, notably not one of the 50 states, and presently not even a part of the Republic, although it once was. Ronald Reagan currently was the oldest president ever to take office, something he actually did twice, the first time in 1981, and again four years later in 1985. McCain would beat Reagan’s first record by two years and four months – something to consider this fall in the voting booth.

366. Twenty Thousand

Thank you, thank you, and thank you, and another 19,997 thank yous.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.